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Paul Millsap hopes to find his offense in Boston

Paul Millsap (4) hasn't been hitting his shots, but he's making up for it with stifling defense for the Hawks. Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford isn't worried about Paul Millsap's offense.

So far in this playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Millsap is shooting just 7-for-23 with 18 points and 14 rebounds in two games. In Game 2, Millsap -- who averaged 17.1 points and 9.0 rebounds this season -- had just four points and missed 11 of 12 shots.

Millsap's impact on defense, however, has been a game-changer, Horford said.

"A player like Paul brings so much to the table, not just the offense," Horford said Thursday. "His defense has been key. His ability to switch their guards and guard in the perimeter and block shots and get steals, that's really what is making us different.

"I'm not worried about his offense. I know he'll get that together at any point, but defensively he is giving us a lot."

Entering Friday night's Game 3 against Boston, the 6-foot-8 Millsap is averaging 3.5 blocks a game. His ability to defend multiple positions and switch has helped Atlanta play stifling defense on Boston to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Hawks had 15 blocks in Game 2 despite not having a 7-footer playing in the rotation.

If Millsap finds his offense in Boston, the Celtics could be in trouble.

"Not my best shooting games, but it's not about just one person," Millsap said after Tuesday's Game 2 in Atlanta. "It's about this whole team and what everybody brings to the table."

"Every time I catch the ball, I'm seeing a lot of bodies," Millsap added. "The key for me is not to force. Take what they give me. Other guys are doing a great job. ... If I have to struggle for our team to win, so be it."

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer credits the "strength and the physicality" of the Celtics' wing players in helping to slow down Millsap. But Budenholzer said Millsap's offense will come.

"Paul had some shots and some opportunities that we feel great that, given the course of a series, he's going to make his fair share," Budenholzer said. "Give their bigs credit. Amir Johnson is where it starts, but I think their wings when they've switched on to him have done a good job.

"Paul's got some looks if he keeps taking over the course of the series and over the course of time, it's going to balance out and he's going to have some good games and be more efficient and better offensively."

Millsap was asked if the amount of energy he is expending on defense is impacting his offense.

"If I was an excuse guy, I would say yeah," Millsap said. "But no."